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Discussion Starter #1
Hey All,

Just looking for a little bit of experienced ownership advice on my new-to-me Exige S, which I absolutely love and have been enjoying quite a bit in the last few weeks since I purchased.

The engine cover body part, on the drivers side, doesn't align with the remainder of the rear clam very well. Sorry I don't have a picture to better illustrate the issue, let me attempt with a little narrative.

At the hinge point along the top of the hatch, the alignment with the rear clam is correct and the panel gaps are consistent with the remainder of the car. The same holds true for the rear edge at the attachment/latch point. Same for the right side of the hatch (when viewed from the rear). Only on the left hand (drivers) side does this problem exist. The hatch itself doesn't sit flush with the remainder of the rear clam, and it appears that it's raised up perhaps 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the clam surface, as if the hatch itself wasn't fully closing. Again, this only occurs on the drivers side of the cover.

Here's what I've done so far (not much...):

  1. Looked at and adjusted the threaded rubber stoppers on either side of latch for the cover, to see if they would impact the fit when closed. This didn't accomplish anything, as their primary purpose seems to be keeping the hatch tight to the body when in the closed position, and not so much for body panel alignment.
  2. Looked at the hinges themselves to determine if there was some adjustability at their connection points that would "lower" the drivers side of the cover when closed. That didn't look very promising, though I'm certainly no bodyshop expert.
  3. Discussed this issue with the dealer (Symbolic in La Jolla, worked with Lee, who was great for everything else I asked for him on the car), from which I received a hearty TADTS. Dealer explained that the hatch is slightly raised on the drivers side since that is the side the prop rod attaches to when opened, so naturally the hatch is bowed slightly and won't lay flush with the body itself. No disrespect to the dealer here, but that didn't sit so well with me.

So, anyone out there with Exiges also have this rear engine cover/hatch alignment problem, only on the drivers side? Anybody done anything about it to successfully resolve the issue?

On a scale of 1 to 10 in importance, this is about a 2 to me, so I'd be quite fine if this really truly is a TADTS and I'd just carry on enjoying the Lotus. That said, if this is solveable in a relatively simple fashion, I'll take a shot at getting it fixed and solve really the only visual flaw on this otherwise perfect vehicle.

Thanks to all of you for your assistance.
 

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Salty Dog, at the base of the hatch there should be two metal pins with rubber pads that make contact with the rear clam. These pins can be adjusted up or down by loosening the stop nut and rotating the pins in or out. Be careful to not extend them too far outward and stress the rear clam where they make contact. The pins will allow some gap adjustments at the wing end of the hatch.

I made some minor adjustments to the hatch on my '06 Exige this way.

I am not aware of any adjustments at the hinge end other than using shims or removing material from the hatch surface for a better fit / tighter gaps.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Salty Dog, at the base of the hatch there should be two metal pins with rubber pads that make contact with the rear clam. These pins can be adjusted up or down by loosening the stop nut and rotating the pins in or out. Be careful to not extend them too far outward and stress the rear clam where they make contact. The pins will allow some gap adjustments at the wing end of the hatch.

I made some minor adjustments to the hatch on my '06 Exige this way.

I am not aware of any adjustments at the hinge end other than using shims or removing material from the hatch surface for a better fit / tighter gaps.
Thanks, but yeah, tried that method already. That's what I meant by the rubber stoppers I mentioned in item #1. I do understand their purpose, and it's primarily to adjust the height of the cover at the rear latch, with very little to no effect on the sides of the cover.

What I did was I "reduced" the height of the drivers side stopper, hoping that it was the culprit in the offset. No avail, the hatch still was high on the drivers side compared to the clam body part after making a few adjustments at that location.

Any body shops out there have experience in dealing with this?

Any other Exige owners also have this strange panel alignment problem?
 

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I don't have an answer but I know exactly what you are talking about.

I have noticed a lot of inconsistency to Exige hatches. Lotusmotions suggestion will help where the hatch latches buy I am afraid, unless someone has another suggestion, that the hatch looks to be aligned, fitted and sanded flush before paint and once assembled has little adjustment. It is the way it is basically and would require sanding or filler to remedy.

At least that is what I have concluded after noticing that some have completely consistent gaps whereas others are offset, bowed/ raised (I have even seen some you can look into the engine from the side) and closer to the clam in some areas than others.

The fit on my new 09 is pretty tight and consistent and flush - but you could stick your finger in the gap on my 07. :shrug:
 

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Admittedly I only skimmed the posts so far... there are shims at the front two hinges where the hinge meets the engine cover. You can add or remove shims from each side to adjust the way the hatch meets the rear clam, in addition to things that others have posted. You can get it perfect with a little playing.
 
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